The Profit & Loss Crystal Ball

Once again, it's that time of year when our editorial staff dust off the infamous Profit & Loss crystal ball in order to take a peek into the future and tell our readers what they should expect from the year ahead. Colin Lambert's "Trade of the Year" makes a welcome return, and he's back with a bang as he focuses on the drivers of the ever-popular NOK/MXN pair. As has become custom, Lambert is also predicting consolidation within the FX industry, but regular readers might just be surprised to find out that for once he doesn't think that the M&A activity will be on the platform side this year.
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EBS: An Expanded Franchise

Despite a general uptick in trading volumes in 2018, G3 volumes were – from a historical perspective – relatively subdued. Once upon a time this would have spelled bad news for EBS, but it is a testament to how the business has evolved in recent years that its spot FX volumes were instead actually up 9.5% year-on-year. “It’s been a big story around emerging market currencies and last year we observed a big increase in volumes in Asian currencies in particular,” says Seth Johnson, CEO of cash markets at CME Group, which owns EBS. “Fortunately for us, that’s a pretty good part of our franchise now. Most of our growth in the last three years has been driven out of Asia, and offshore renminbi is now our third largest currency by volume.”
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Nostradamus with Splinters

Having taken a look at Galen Stops’ predictions for 2018, Colin Lambert decides that overall he didn't do a bad job, but there is an obvious reason why…Obviously having been a very generous marker over the years when assessing my own predictions from the previous year I have now swung 180 degrees and plan on being as critical as possible when looking at Galen’s five key themes for 2018. The problem is that, overall, he didn't do too badly. Firstly, he suggested that 2018 could be the year that active currency management makes a comeback, although – and this is a theme of this review – there was a caveat because the headline ended with the words “sort of”.
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Close, But No Cigar

Having taken a look at Colin Lambert’s predictions for 2018, Galen Stops finds that he was almost right with all of them. “Almost” being the operative word.…..1.“Bitcoin. That’s The Thing That Goes Up, Right?” – “The advent of futures in Bitcoin will take volatility out of the market. The cryptocurrency will end the year lower, not at zero, but in the single digits of thousands of dollars.” Colin definitely scored a hit with his price prediction, with bitcoin currently at $3,500 at the time of writing. However, he did give himself a rather generous amount of leeway by effectively predicting that it would end the year anywhere between $1 and $9,999.
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Refinitiv: Cost and Risk, Cost and Risk

2018 was undoubtedly a transitional year for Refinitiv. In the first half of the year, the firm was finishing off big initiatives that were started in 2017 – although everything was all ready internally for the MiFID II deadline on January 3 there were subsequent client enhancement requests to work through, while Matching was re-platformed and moved into the Equinix LD4 data centre in London. Meanwhile, in the second half of the year, the focus shifted onto new initiatives: announcing plans to launch an analytics suite and making more algos available to clients on FXall. Of course, the obvious transition for the firm was being rebranded as Refinitiv from Thomson Reuters’ Financial & Risk (F&R) after a consortium led by private equity firm Blackstone agreed a deal to acquire 55% of the business.
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P&L’s 2018 Crystal Ball – How Did We Do?

We’d all like to write our own reviews, but if the recent emphasis on third party transaction cost analysis (TCA) has taught us anything it’s that it can be beneficial to have an independent party conduct reviews too. With that in mind Profit & Loss challenged some of its readers to look over our 2018 predictions and provide feedback.Prediction: “The Great Divide” - 2018 will be all about the data and it will empower those willing to pay for it, however there will be challenges for those who cannot or will not pay up to consume and store the vast amounts of data required. Those with data will be more protective of how their pricing is used by counterparts and those without will struggle in an increasingly fragmented market as more platforms package and sell their data.
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P&L Talk Series With: Kate Lowe

Kate Lowe, global head of trade services at State Street, talks to Profit & Loss about how new margin requirements could shape buy side behaviour in the FX market, and why 2019 is likely to be a “staging” year for many of these firms.Profit & Loss: As you’ve been talking to clients at the start of 2019, what’s been the major areas of focus for them?Kate Lowe: Well one of the big talking points at the moment is the impact that the uncleared margin rules (UMR) are going to have on the industry. In September this year, the threshold for firms that have to post initial margin for u
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Understanding Blockchain Forks

Most published analysis of the legal consequences of blockchain forks has been underwhelming. Discussions often centre around the legal risks to miners and developers, questions of little relevance because of the general absence of contracts between users of public blockchains and the constellation of jurisdictions from which they operate. In other words, it will freeze in hell before anonymous developers based god-knows-where win a lawsuit against unidentified Chinese miners aggregated in a mining pool. I should add that several articles appeared to be advertorials by law firms looking for new business.
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FX Sees Flash Crash in Asia – But What Caused It?

FX markets in early Asia experienced what dealers refer to as a “mini flash crash” today as risk aversion levels were ramped up and volatility ensued following a profit warning from Apple. USDJPY fell 400 points at one stage before reversing more than half of the drop, while AUDUSD also collapsed sharply to hit a new multi-year low. There were also sharp moves in other pairs, with Cable dropping more than 200 points and even EURUSD saw what is for the normally stable cross, a decent move.
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